September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness month. This month focuses on bringing awareness and discussion around preventing suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identifies suicide as a public health crisis. Below are some alarming statistics shared by the CDC this year:
– In 2020, an estimated 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.
– Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.
– Suicide rates in 2020 were 30% higher than in 2000.
Suicide is preventable, and suicide prevention begins with all of us. The National Council for Suicide Prevention (NCSP) launched the Take 5 To Save Lives campaign that offers information on steps you can take now to prevent suicide. The five steps are: LEARN, KNOW, DO, TALK, and SHARE.
Let’s Take a Look at the Five Steps for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Step 1: LEARN
Knowing warning signs and risk factors may help identify those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Learning preventative steps to take can help save a life. Feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal from others, or talks of not wanting to live are some potential warning signs of someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. Traumas, life situations, drug/alcohol use, and medical conditions contribute to suicide.
Step 2: KNOW
Knowing what to do if you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis is crucial. Create a safety plan that includes people, places, and coping skills that can be utilized to ensure your safety and well-being. Identify the nearest emergency room and crisis resource centers available in your community. Please know you do not have to suffer in silence.
Step 3: DO
Practice self-care regularly for your mental health. This includes proper sleep, diet, hygiene, exercise, and social interactions. Finding a balance in things that bring you joy and help you recharge can help sustain a balanced mood. Professional services like therapy and medication management can also help manage mental health. It is okay to seek professional services as regular maintenance. We don’t have to wait until a crisis occurs to seek treatment.
Some things you can do to bring awareness to Suicide Prevention Month:
-Share informative, educational articles, posts, or videos that bring awareness and advocate for suicide prevention.
-Research legislation regarding mental health in your area.
-Advocate for change and have conversations with peers to break the stigma around mental.
Step 4: TALK
Talking about mental health is becoming more common. However, there still appears to be a stigma around it. Talking about suicide does not put the idea of suicide in someone’s mind. Open conversations with loved ones can open doors to deeper conversations about mental health, reducing the stigma around it. Reaching out and being available to talk to one another can prevent suicide and encourage someone to seek mental health treatment. The more conversations around mental health we have, the more we can work towards normalizing utilizing available mental health resources when needed.
Step 5: SHARE
A simple way to spread awareness about suicide prevention is to share information through social media. Share information like educational articles, posts, or videos that can be used as a resource to spread awareness. Sharing helpful information that could potentially save a life.
Please know that you are not alone. You do not have to suffer in silence. There is help available. If you are having a difficult time, please reach out for support. Your primary care doctor may be a great resource to help determine the best treatment plan. Your community may also be available to assist with linking you to a mental health provider.
Please check out the following resources:
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, confidential support through calls, texts, and chats with trained crisis counselors.
The National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) also provides resources for navigating a mental health crisis.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 911 or an emergency service number for immediate assistance.
Take five steps